By Abdoulie John
Pro-democracy activists vowed to sensitize Senegalese artists and a wrestlers on the deteriorating human rights situation in Gambia.
“Despite some pitfalls, we will continue to sensitize Senegalese artists and wrestlers on the plight of Gambians,” said Fadel Barro of Y’en a marre movement during a press briefing held on Monday at Amnesty International regional office in Dakar, Senegal.
Fadel Barro’s statement comes in the wake of President Yahya Jammeh’s attempts to overshadow the remembrance of April 10/11, 2000 students’ massacre by inviting prominent Senegalese wrestler Emeu Sene and comedians of Tele Futurs Media TV series Kouthia Show to a Banjul jamboree over the weekend. Gambian national TV showcased President Yahya Jammeh posing himself as a guru for wrestler Eumeu Sene, and extending largesse to him.
The Gambian leader’s latest move has sparked online outrage with critics accusing sportsmen and artists in Senegal for ‘blatantly ignoring’ calls made by human rights organizations to desist from enabling ‘a dictatorial regime.’
Fadel Barro said Y’en a marre and US-based Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA) have been working in effective way to compel artists and wrestlers to have a more responsible attitude toward the Jammeh regime.
Khady Diallo of Article 19 assured that civil society organizations will continue to take actions against all forms of human rights violations in Gambia. “We have to continue to sensitize wrestlers so that they will desist from enabling the regime to suppress certain forms of political speech,” she said.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Amnesty Senegal President Seydi Gassama emphasized that there is a need to inform most of them (artists & comedians), but he was quick to warn of the danger that the act posed by Jammeh could trigger divisions among Gambians, but also Senegalese.
Over these past years, the tiny West African nation has always been spotlighted for its poor human rights record. The Jammeh regime is often of gross human rights violations, summary executions, and continuous clampdown on the media.